“Off the Grid” isn’t your typical blockchain game.
Gunzilla Games, the studio behind the upcoming multiplayer free-to-play shooter, has “Chappie” and “District 9” director Neill Blomkamp as its chief creative officer and Warface developer Vlad Korolev as its CEO. The company also has about 260 full-time employees working on the game and its crypto-powered ecosystem, Korolev shared with Decrypt in an exclusive interview.
“Off the Grid is a traditional multiplayer shooter [that] puts all its economy and progression on-chain,” Korolev said, adding that Blomkamp is overseeing all of the game’s visuals, creative materials, and animation effects on a daily basis.
“Altered Carbon” author Richard K. Morgan is also writing narrative scripts for the game’s campaign, and celebrities—like the singer known as Lights—have recorded motion-capture roles for the upcoming game.
Gunzilla announced Wednesday that it has launched the test network for Gunz, its dedicated Avalanche-based blockchain subnet. The Gunz subnet blockchain scanner is also live, as is the testnet version of the Gunz crypto and NFT wallet for iOS and Android users. The Gunz wallet app will only work on the Gunz network and the game’s ecosystem, so it’s worth noting that players won’t be able to make withdrawals or transfers outside the game environment with the app.
The studio has also released an iOS and Android companion game, Technocore, which allows players to find items that will be usable in Off the Grid. Players who snag gear via Technocore will be able to then trade them as NFTs on the studio’s official Gunz marketplace.
NFTs acquired in Technocore during the Gunz testnet phase will be transferred over to the Gunz mainnet when it launches, but Gun tokens won’t be, according to a message displayed within the iOS version of the game.
Off the Grid will be released for PC gamers on the Epic Games Store, as well as for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S and X consoles.
The Gunz blockchain has already been tested with over 840,000 transactions across 60,000 wallet addresses, according to the studio’s scanner data. Gunzilla Games’ crypto ecosystem token, Gun, has not yet launched—but the studio plans to release it on “centralized cryptocurrency exchanges” at a future date.
Korolev told Decrypt that the idea for Off the Grid first originated years ago while the executive and his now-Gunzilla Games co-founder Alex Zoll were at Crytek developing the first-person shooter game Warface, which was released back in 2013.
The vision for Off the Grid is very ambitious—the team is building a 60-hour narrative campaign and a 150-player battle royale (BR) experience with over 300 different guns and 30 different “cyberlimbs,” releasing its own crypto token, and launching a dedicated blockchain network for its title with an NFT validation mechanism. Gunzilla says that the Gunz subnet will support 10,000 NFT validators that can mint in-game assets and work like traditional blockchain nodes.
“We chose Avalanche because we couldn’t make it work on any other chain,” Korolev told Decrypt, referring to the game’s wide-ranging blockchain features.
Off the Grid multiplayer matches will take place on a sci-fi locale called Teardrop Island, which is shaped like—you guessed it—a teardrop. But in fact, it’s quite large. Like in Apex Legends’ Storm Point map, players will be able to engage in both player-vs-player (PVP) and player-vs-environment (PVE) battles. But they’ll also be able to explore 13 unique points of interest that range from nuclear reactors to factories and other industrial buildings.
And, in true Blomkampian fashion, gamers will be able to shoot off and steal each others’ “cyberlimbs,” which will come with their own weapon combinations and options for customization.
The average Off the Grid match isn’t for the faint of heart. Besides the whole shooting-off-each-other’s-cyberlimbs thing, Korolev told Decrypt he estimates the average game match will last 38 minutes for players who make it to the end.
“We’ve been working so hard for the last four years to make the world which will never be boring for users to spend so much time there,” Korolev said.
“In the era of TikTok, experienced users—it’s too boring for them to even watch YouTube. It’s too boring for them to wait on the map for 10 minutes until they experience some interaction with the world,” the CEO added, highlighting a challenge many FPS game developers face with multiplayer BR titles.
To keep players busy, there will also be non-playable characters (NPCs) and quests spread out across Teardrop Island during BR matches.
“We don’t have the same approach that other battle royales are using with simply a shrinking mechanic,” Korolev shared, referring to a growing ring of toxic energy or chemicals that force players to push to a smaller circle, as in titles like Fortnite and Apex Legends.
“We have our own take on this mode,” Korolev said of Off the Grid’s battle royale plans, hinting that further details will be shared soon.
Edited by Andrew Hayward